At the beginning of this year, Twitter product head Kevin Weil left the company for Instagram where he promptly cloned Snapchat Stories. (Hi, Instagram Stories). The brash, shameless move gave Instagram a way to spark more sharing of the carefree, fun videos it previously lacked. And, by taking the heat (and even some praise) for blatantly copying another app, Weil and company made it easier for others to follow along — including his former employer.
In fact, if executed properly, Stories could make even more sense within Twitter than it does within Instagram or Snapchat.
Skeptical? Consider the following:
- Twitter's wants to be the destination for live updates and the Stories format is proving itself as one of (if not the) best ways to share video of what’s happening in the moment. Stories take little editing and are necessarily short form (like Twitter itself). They are also snackable, unlike many live streaming videos that require concentrated attention.
- If someone shot a compelling video on Twitter Stories, people could easily share it with the world via a tweet. And thanks to the Retweet, a key Twitter feature that makes tweets blow up, a video contained in a Twitter Story could go viral faster than a video on any other platform.
- The chance of a Twitter Story spreading like wildfire would incentivize public figures and brands to invest the time and energy needed to make Stories great.
- Since you follow people on Twitter because you're interested in what they're saying and doing, you could expect their Twitter Stories to be relevant to you in a way that transcends mere friendship.
- Currently, when you share a video on Twitter, there's pressure for it to be really good. If Twitter added disappearing videos that don't appear in the timeline automatically, there would be less pressure involved, and hence more videos shared to Twitter. This is critical at a time when video is becoming the dominant content format on Twitter.
- Having Stories reside in a top bar of Twitter would give people using the platform access to interesting videos every time they open the app, without having to scroll through the timeline.
And heck, Weil, and Instagram's CEO Kevin Systrom, have already largely made the argument for Twitter cloning Instagram's by-all-accounts successful Snapchat clone:
“I think that the Stories format is seeing broad adoption and I think will be adopted by a lot of folks," Weil told BuzzFeed News when Instagram Stories launched. "It’s a new format, it’s a powerful format, it’s one that I think will be adopted across the industry.”
Asked if it should consider introducing Stories to its product, Twitter declined to comment.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at email@example.com.
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